A couple of buzzards were circling the sky Wednesday over the Brierpatch, which seemed fitting since Greenbrier High School's opponents were dead meat during the race for the Region 3-AAAA championship.
The Wolfpack and the Lady Pack were the predators, as both squads readily devoured the region titles.
The only drama was when two Glenn Hills High School runners survived their misadventure after straying off the well-marked course that winds through the trees at Riverwood Plantation.
By the time the spaced-out Spartans found the finish line, Greenbrier's runners were rested and ready to celebrate.
In fact, the Pack's top three runners, Miguel Mota, Tyler Warren and Tyler Hayden, were finishing the 3.1-mile run before some of the stragglers had reached the halfway point.
Greenbrier's Tyler Warren (second from right) and Miguel Mota lead the way to start the cross country meet held at the Brierpatch. They finished in the top two spots.
Photo by Mike Howell
Not that the relentless Mota, who earned his third straight individual region cross country championship, had any sympathy.
"It's pretty much their fault because they're walking," the junior said. "I think it embarrasses them more than anything."
Mota led the Pack with a time of 17:08. Warren (17:11) and Hayden (17:27) were close behind, while Jason Purucker (18:45, sixth) and Zach Sapp (19:02, ninth) rounded out Greenbrier's counting scores.
The Greenbrier girls were just as dominant. The Lady Pack won their eighth cross country crown in the team's eight years of existence, and Bridget Lyons posted a time of 20:45 to secure individual honors.
The Lady Pack's other counting scores were from Kaycee Quarles (21:53, second), Tabatha Pilgrim (23:23, seventh), Renee Jones (23:54, eighth) and Michelle Swiec (24:34, 11th).
The Lakeside Lady Panthers picked up the pace to place second in the team standings, which earns the squad a spot in the Class AAAA state championships Nov. 8 in Carrollton.
Lakeside nailed down the third through fifth places on strong runs by Renee Reddington (22:03), Ellen Kist (22:51) and Andrea Sisson (22:55). Also posting counting scores for the Lady Panthers were Ashley Williams (26:01, 20th) and Elizabeth Hyman (26:06, 20th).
The Greenbrier boys and girls cross country teams both claimed titles at the Region 3-AAAA championships Wednesday at the Brierpatch. Both teams will play again Nov. 8.
Photo by Mike Howell
"I had an idea early on that we might be able to do it. I'm proud of them," Lakeside coach Max Goodman said of his runners securing a trip to state. "It's taken a lot of work, but the girls seem to be into it. I don't care what kind of team you've got, if they have some camaraderie, that's a plus. I saw that developing this year."
The Lakeside boys finished fourth to advance to a state qualifier next weekend at Gainesville College.
Greenbrier's teams, on the other hand, were expected to win region. They did just that, but there still was plenty of work involved.
"Just because you're going to win, you can't get ready for the state meet by thinking we've got this won," Mota said. "That's how big teams lose. You have to be as good as you can, and there's always room for improvement."
The Pack and Lady Pack will seek that improvement at the state meet Nov. 8, but after their cross country sweep Wednesday, Green-brier's athletes completed a run that's hard to top.
The Greenbrier softball and volleyball teams also nailed down region titles, giving the school championships in three of the four fall sports. The Wolfpack football team also is positioned to possibly win region when the regular season concludes in early November.
"We're really proud of what Greenbrier stands for athletically," Mota said. "We have good coaching, that's the main thing, and we have a well-rounded school."
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